This Week in Ford Racing: October 26, 2010 A year ago this week, Elliott Sadler was getting ready for his return to Ford Racing as his Richard Petty Motorsports team debuted with the manufacturer at Talladega Superspeedway. Sadler and his No....
This Week in Ford Racing:
October 26, 2010
A year ago this week, Elliott Sadler was getting ready for his return to Ford Racing as his Richard Petty Motorsports team debuted with the manufacturer at Talladega Superspeedway. Sadler and his No. 19 Stanley Ford Fusion had an impressive day as they finished ninth. He spoke about that race and returning to one of NASCAR's two restrictor plate tracks.
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 19 Stanley Ford Fusion - "Everytime I go to Talladega, especially when it seems I'm partnering up with Doug Yates and his engines, things go well. He understands the motor tuning that I like. I'm a little different than other drivers. There are certain things that I want and he seems to figure it out and we always seem to be very, very fast in the draft and we always seem to have a car run good. Todd Parrott and I have had some really fast cars there in the past. Last year, we had a top 10 and should have had more than that. I was gambling a little bit too much there at the end. I had a fast car there again in the spring and led a bunch of laps, so we always look forward to going to Talladega. It's a place where we run good at and we usually have really good horsepower and really good cars there."
CAN YOU EXPLAIN TO RACE FANS WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE ON THAT BANKING AND RACE 42 OTHER COMPETITORS? "It's a ton of banking, but you really feel the banking more under caution because you feel like you're gonna fall out of the left side of the car. When you're actually running 185 miles an hour and your three and four-wide, the banking seems to flatten out a little bit because you're running so fast and the g-forces are pushing you down. It's definitely a different animal. It's very wide and very smooth. The asphalt has a lot of grip. It's a lot different animal than any other race track we run at, even Daytona before it gets repaved. It's a place where you can run three-wide all day and it's a place where you can go four-wide. It seems like we don't have problems in the corner there, we have problems on the straightaway. We talk about the banking and how it's the most banking we see all year, but the problem seems to be on the straightaway when we really get to bump drafting and pushing each other around. That's usually when the problem occurs."
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE LIKE WHEN YOU GOT ON THAT TRACK? "I was by myself when I went there the first time and I was like, 'It's not too bad.' It's a very wide race track and it's hard to feel the speed because you're just wide open with the restrictor plate. I went there in a Nationwide car for the first time, but, wow, does it change when you drop the green and have 42 other guys out there with you. It's a 200 mile an hour chess game. You really have to look ahead a lap or two when you're gonna make your moves and just hope you're in the right line at the right time. Hopefully, we'll be able to do that, but it just seems like we can't ever get past those last 10 laps. The last few races we've been there something happens those last 10 laps and we're caught up, and that's whether we're trying to use the strategy to stay in front of it, the middle of it or the back. It just seems the last 10 laps at Talladega the last few races have gotten us. You've got to avoid the big one and, hopefully, we can play the right game."
THE RACE SEEMS TO BUILD FROM AN INTENSITY STANDPOINT. IS THAT SOMETHING YOU CAN FEEL IN THE RACE CAR? "Definitely. Everybody tests their car at the very beginning of the race, so you put it in a lot of different situations the first 20-30 laps. Then everybody settles down. Then the mindset is, 'Okay, we've got pit stops coming up in five laps.' You don't want to be at the tail end of the field in case we have a mistake on pit road, in case you slide your tires, in case something happens you don't want to lose the draft, so three or four laps before green flag pit stops business picks up a little bit and you start a lot more taking than giving. Then you'll see us sometimes run single-file during the middle of the race because, honestly, what that is is giving everybody a break. 'Let's ride. Let's make it to the next pit stop and then we'll go at it again,' but, man, those last 20-30 laps it's all you can do to keep the car straight because you're getting hit so hard from behind, you're pushing the guy in front of you, you're getting side drafted on. There are a lot of things going on inside that car that race fans probably don't know is happening, so it's definitely an animal of its own. There's nothing else like it in the world and it's tough racing."